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A depraved ex-police officer who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard while pretending to be on duty has been handed a whole life sentence at the Old Bailey and will never leave prison.
Wayne Couzens was a serving Metropolitan Police officer when he snatched 33-year-old Ms Everard as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham to Brixton on March 3.
The twisted killer used his warrant card and cited coronavirus restrictions when he stopped Sarah, handcuffed her and bundled her into his car.
It is still not known when exactly the 48-year-old killed her, but it was revealed in court that evidence suggested he had, at some point, restrained her using velcro straps, and that the offending was "sexual and homicidal" in nature.
Passing sentence, Lord Justice Fulford said it was important that the impact of Sarah's death on her friends and family "must not be forgotten" and added that any sentence he imposed "must be just".
Justice Fulford added that he was "not in the slightest doubt" that Couzens deliberately used his status as a police officer to prey upon. "an intelligent, talented and much-loved woman".
He went on to say: "Sarah Everard was a wholly blameless victim of a grotesquely executed series of offences which cumulated in her death.
"The defendant had planned well in advance, in all of its unspeakably grim detail, what was to occur. Her state of mind and what she had to endure on a journey of 80 miles would have been as bleak and agonising as it is to imagine."
Wayne Couzens stood with his head bowed throughout the sentencing hearing and did not look up as he was ordered by the judge to stand.
He shook slightly as he was jailed in front of his victim's family, who calmly looked on from the well of the court.
Sarah Everard's parents Jeremy and Susan clasped hands and hugged police officers after Couzens shuffled out of the dock to be taken down to the cells.
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The marketing executive was reported missing by her boyfriend Josh Lowth on March 4.
Her remains were found in Ashford, Kent, a week later.
They had been stored in a large builder’s bag and had to be identified through dental records.
A camera attached to a police car captured her walking alone at 9.23pm and three minutes later a bus camera caught the moment she was intercepted by Couzens in Balham.
Two figures were captured standing by a parked hire car with its hazard lights flashing.
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Couzens was arrested on March 9 where he told police that he was suffering with financial problems and a gang of Eastern Europeans had threatened him to deliver a girl to them.
The police officer had wiped all of the data from his phone prior to his arrest.
His story claimed that he kidnapped Ms Everard and handed her over to three Eastern European men in Kent, still alive and uninjured.
Couzens was caught on CCTV two days after Ms Everard was last seen, buying two green rubble bags at B&Q.
He also ordered a bungee cargo net and tarpaulin for delivery.
Despite his phone being wiped, his cell site data linked him to the abduction and the area where Ms Everard was eventually found.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said prior to the sentencing: "Former Metropolitan Police Officer PC Wayne Couzens will be sentenced for the kidnap, rape and murder of Sarah Everard over the next two days.
"We are sickened, angered and devastated by this man’s crimes which betray everything we stand for.
"Our thoughts are with Sarah’s family and her many friends. It is not possible for us to imagine what they are going through.
We recognise his actions raise many questions and concerns but we will not be commenting further until the hearing is complete."
- MET Police
- Sarah Everard
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